RUNNING AWAY IN DAYVILLE (1932)

CATEGORY: EARLY CHILDHOOD
PHOTO: WE SAT ON THE BRIDGE

During the summers, when our father was not teaching, he worked at various jobs.  When we lived at Dayville he worked at a service station.  It had a room with a kitchen in the back where we sometimes stayed when mother had errands to do.  One lovely summer day, when we were in the back room at the service station, Mary and I decided to run away.  Mary must have heard those words “run away” somewhere, because we were not just going out for a walk; we were RUNNING AWAY!!  I would never have thought of such a thing since I was only three years old.  Mary was older.  She was four and wise in the ways of the world.

We got out soda crackers and honey.  We found a knife and spread honey on the crackers.  We put the crackers in a paper bag and put the bag in our little red wagon.  Sticky, sticky!  Then we went on a path that, after a long way, led us to a high bank overlooking a river.  We were so close that we could look over the bank and see the water through the long grass.  Then the path took a big turn to the left and we trudged  another long, long way along the bank until we came to a highway and RIGHT THERE was a bridge!  We pulled our little red wagon out on to the highway, and then on to the bridge, and then right out to the middle of the bridge.  We did not have to worry about traffic; this was 1932 and a long way from anyplace with traffic.  We sat down on the edge of the bridge with our feet hanging over and stared wa-a-ay down at the deep green water.  It had a hypnotic influence as it mo-o-o-o-oved slowly, slowly along.  After awhile it seemed that the bridge was moving and the water was still.  We ate our crackers and honey, contemplating the dizzying mystery of moving water.

Then we went home.

Running Away is the most enchanting when you have a home to go back to afterwards.

After a lapse of over fifty years, I was again in Dayville.  I was just driving through.  That service station was still there, albeit deserted.  Much to my amazement, the back of it was only about thirty feet from the John Day River and the bridge across the river was maybe a hundred feet away. It had shrunk beyond imagining!

All epic adventures have relative distances depending on the length of the adventure and the size of the adventurer.